Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Sept. 3:
1. Students skipping meals to afford college books: study
I’ve written several times about the struggles college students encounter when it comes to food insecurity. A new study finds that students are having trouble paying for course materials like books, and that they often forgo meals in order to pay for those materials. The study by Cengage, an education and technology company that serves the higher education market, found that 43 percent of current and former college students reported skipping a meal to afford those course materials.
Read more: Study: College students sacrificing food and time to afford textbooks
2. Calif. bill to require vegan meals
A bill expected to be signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown will require state hospitals and prisons to provide at least one healthy vegan option at every meal. The bill unanimously passed the Senate in June and passed the State Assembly last week, 69-9.
3. School alliance partners with FoodCorps
The Urban School Food Alliance has partnered with FoodCorps to “collaborate on initiatives to further increase food quality in school meals and improve student health and academic performance across 11 of the largest school district in the country,” according to a press release announcing the partnership. While the two nonprofits will continue to operate independently on day-to-day operations, members of each nonprofit will join the other’s board and the two will work on one another’s programmatic initiatives, including launching FoodCorps’ healthy school meals supply-side work.
4. College using RFID chips on plates
Speeding up the payment lines is a goal for many foodservice operations. One college in China is using RFID chips that have been placed on plates as one way to accomplish this. The chips have been preprogrammed to contain information about what is on the plate so students need only place the plates on a scanner, which then quickly calculates the bill. Because the chips contain information on what is on the plate, it could also be used for things like nutritional analysis.
Read more: University cafeteria serves up meals with scannable chips
5. Coalition asks Big Three to use “real food”
The Community Coalition for Real Meals, a grassroots alliance of farmers, ranchers, fishers, food workers, students and environmental advocates that includes organizations like the Fair World Project and the Domestic Fair Trade Association, is calling on the Big Three contractors (Compass, Sodexo and Aramark) to make greater investments in “real food that support(s) producers, communities and the environment.” The Coalition’s Campaign for Real Meals asks the contractors to engage in practices such as purchasing 25 percent of their goods as real food (from local sources that are ecologically sound and/or humane), investing in racial justice and equity, reducing carbon emissions and industrial animal products, and increasing transparency and accountability.